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The Lodging House [Hardcover]

Khairy Shalaby

Price: CDN$ 27.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 15 2006 American University in Cairo Press
A young man's dreams for a better future as a student in the Teachers Institute are shattered after he assaults one of his instructors for discriminating against him. From then on, he begins his descent into the underworld. Penniless, he seeks refuge in Wikalat Atiya, a historic but now completely run-down caravanserai that has become the home of the town's marginal and underprivileged characters. This award-winning novel takes on epic dimensions as the narrator escorts us on a journey to this underworld, portraying - as he sinks further into its intricate relationships - the many characters that inhabit it. Through a labyrinth of tales, reminiscent of the popular Arab tradition of storytelling, we are introduced to these marginal beings, whose lives oscillate between the real and the fantastic, the contemporary and the timeless, and to the relationship between the newly marginalized middle class and the already marginal popular class. And while the narrator starts out as a spectator of these characters lives, he soon becomes an integral part of the lodging house's community of rogues.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (Dec 15 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9774249445
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774249440
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,244,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Khairy Shalaby, born in Kafr al-Shaykh in Egypts Nile Delta in 1938, has written seventy books, including novels, short stories, historical tales, and critical studies. The Lodging House was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2003.

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First Sentence
I never thought I could be brought down so low that I would accept living in Wikalat Atiya. Read the first page
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb modern arab novel Oct. 3 2009
By Ioannis Loulis - Published on
Alawi's "The Yakoubian Building", puts the modern egyptian novel on the international map, justifyingly so. Of course, this novel,though extremely readable, is a far cry from the best of of the Mahfouz novels, like "Miramar", "Adrift on the Nile", or "Midaq alley", to name a few. As an Alexandrian Greek I have been devouring Egyptian novels with facination. Some of these have proved to be average, others rather disappointing. However the "lodging house" exceeds all expectations, not because it won the Mahfouz prize (others that won it are average), but because it compares with the best of the Egyptian master's novels

The story, in a way reminds one of Alawi's bestseller, but surpasses it in sophistication and ambition. It is the story of an expelled student who sinks into the underworld of a provincial town (damanhour) in a building which attracts the downtrodden. What happens next is the fusion of multiple stories, where pathos, eros, smells and characters interact, as the reader is drawn and enveloped into a real and fascinating world of senses. As this world unfolds, the reader feels there is no escape, and what is more, he does not want to make a break but experience's it to the inevitable bitter end. Superb.

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